The proposed program is designed to train postdoctoral researchers in biomedical research in the area of rheumatic diseases. We are requesting 3 postdoctoral training slots (for MD, MD/PhD, MD/MPH, and/or PhD researchers in bench laboratory or clinical-translational investigation), and 2 slots for predoctoral students (for dual MD/PhD and/or single PhD students, all to be trained in basic-translational research in the UCSD/La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) Biomedical sciences Program in Immunology). The training program will consist of a research experience typically of 24 months, and up to 36 months. Training is under close supervision of mentors collaboratively working on immunologic, molecular biologic, biochemical, and/or epidemiologic, health services, genetic, bioinformatic, and computational biologic problems relevant to the rheumatic diseases. Our emphasis is on recruiting and training new independent researchers to generate novel translational approaches and targeted therapies to rheumatic diseases, and to contribute to the pipeline of new leaders in Rheumatology research. Development of creative thinking, publication and presentation skills, along with inter-disciplinary team mentoring, and developing and improving faculty mentoring skills, are major features of the program. We will mesh complementary expertise and resources of more than one preceptor, tailored to individual trainees and research projects. All trainees are required to take courses in scientific ethics and scientific research methodology appropriate to their training and development. Other formal academic course work is encouraged for those carrying out basic research. MD trainees without an advanced degree in clinical research methodology are offered coursework to obtain a Master's Degree in Clinical Research (in the UCSD CTSA U54) or an MPH from the UCSD Department of Epidemiology. To help foster longstanding career commitment to research in subjects relevant to rheumatic diseases, all trainees will participate in Rheumatology research community-building, and San Diego community outreach. Non-MD trainees will take the medical school preclinical Rheumatology course, which includes encounters with patients. Trainees will be chosen on the basis of their prior academic performance, research career potential and experience, publications, interviews, and recommendations from supervisors. Preference is given to those with acknowledged research interests in rheumatologic and immunologic diseases, and demonstrated capacities in research. To address unmet needs, we will emphasize recruiting outstanding physician, MSTP, and URM student candidates. The primary training unit is the UCSD Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology Division, UCSD. Additional training sites include UCSD and VA hospitals and clinics, the UCSD CTSA, and other UCSD Medicine Divisions and Departments, and labs at LJI and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Program graduates will be primed to compete for academic positions as independent investigators in medical schools or research institutes, or as research scientists in industry.
The proposed renewal of the UCSD T32 program will provide resources and infrastructure to recruit and train a new generation of postdoctoral MD, MD/PhD, MD/MPH, and PhDs (3 training slots), as well predoctoral students early in their research careers (2 training slots for single PhD students in the UCSD/La Jolla Institute (LJI) Immunology track, and dual MD/PhD UCSD MSTP students aligned in Immunology). Our objective is to develop independent researchers and leaders in the field of rheumatic diseases, using inter-disciplinary approaches and the unique, multi-departmental, multi-institutional resources and environment of the UCSD and La Jolla research community. Graduates of this T32 program will be primed to address unmet needs, by creating advances in clinical medicine, therapies, and outcomes that improve the lives of rheumatic disease patients.
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